Neither did Saudi govt demand nor Pakistan will send troops: Sartaj

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Tuesday said Pakistan will not send its troops to Saudi Arabia for the 34-nation anti-terror alliance.

Briefing the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs on the government’s policy on Saudi-Iran tension, he said Pakistan was a part of the alliance but neither was it sending ground forces to Saudi Arabia nor had the Saudi government demanded ground troops from Pakistan.

He said sending forces to any country was against the foreign policy of Pakistan. “Pakistan never sends its forces for any coalition apart from the United Nations,” he added.

Sartaj said Pakistan had adopted a balanced policy and in collaboration with other countries it will try to defuse the tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran at the OIC Conference, which was going to be held in Jeddah.

He said Pakistan will share intelligence with Saudi Arabia and supply arms to counter terrorism.  “An emergency meeting of the OIC foreign ministers has been summoned in Jeddah where Pakistan will present important proposals to reduce the Iran-Saudi tension,” he said.

The adviser said Pakistan wished for a peaceful settlement of the Syrian conflict and supported all efforts for resumption of dialogue. The standing committee endorsed the government’s policy towards Saudi-Iran tensions.

Later, talking to the media, Awais Leghari said the committee had lauded Pakistan’s balanced stance on the Saudi-Iran conflict. He said Pakistan had to play a crucial role in reducing the tension between the two Islamic countries.

The briefing was called after opposition lawmakers demanded that they should be taken into confidence on the issue.

Instead of parliament, the government decided to hold an in-camera briefing on the issue for the members of Foreign Affairs Committee at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Last week, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly, Syed Khursheed Shah, and members of the National Assembly belonging to different political parties had drawn the attention of the House towards the Saudi-Iran tension and asked the government to give a policy statement and hold a discussion on the matter.

Khursheed said important changes could occur in the region due to the conflict between the two Islamic countries.

He had asked the government to brief the House on its policy on the issue, as Pakistan was also a part of the Saudi-led 34 member alliance of Muslim countries to combat terrorism.—Originally published in The News

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